This week, 66 women from some of Sudan's diverse and volatile regions are in Juba for a conference called “Pathways to Sustainable Peace in Sudan: Why We Can't Wait!” Joining them are 10 Sudanese women now living in the United States and Canada who are members of a group called Sisterhood for Peace.
The meeting includes training in conflict management and peace building by facilitators from the Washington-based US Institute of Peace.
The conference is sponsored by My Sister's Keeper, a faith-inspired, multiracial collective of women based in Wau, Sudan, and Boston, Massachusetts.
The meeting is being held in Juba because it's accessible to women from distant towns and villages, said Sarah Rial, the group's program director.
“The southern Sudan referendum is approaching,” she said. “The majority of women in the area are illiterate. Most are still not aware of the ongoing peace process. So it is up to us to educate these women and get the word out.
“We want these women to be not only informed but also engaged so that after the workshop when they go back to their villages they in turn can inform and educate others.”